Fallen deputy honored through art

- Draped by the American Flag, the portrait of late Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Jesse Valdez is unveiled for his mother, Debhora. 

“I was taken aback actually it's a very good likeness of my son,” she said.  It's the latest work from Baytown artist Ken Pridgeon.  “I'm just in awe that someone would take the time," said Valdez.

Ken has "taken the time" to paint hundreds of fallen soldiers through the years, but was asked by Debhora's co-workers to paint Deputy Valdez too. 

“It's not a complete closure, we don't have anything that heals.  All we can do is put a Band-Aid on her heart,” said Pridgeon.   “His legacy will live on and hopefully people will realize the hero he was,” said Valdez.

The deputy died on duty last October when his patrol car was hit head-on by a female driver on drugs. She was sentenced to 60-years in prison. 

“I hope the people would get from the story of my son’s death the fact that there are people that make unfortunate decisions in their life and hopefully they would realize to drive impaired is not the smartest thing to do,” said Valdez.

Jesse Valdez was just 32 years old and an 11-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. He left behind a now 12 year-old son also named Jesse. 

“He said I know what I'm thankful for-- and I said what is that-- and he said I'm thankful that my dad is still here watching over me,” said Valdez.

And Ken will keep watching over his canvas because it’s what he was called to do. 

“He'll always be there with her. The spirit of him will always be here and she'll always have that in that painting,” said Pridgeon.

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